I need to admit something. I am not your “normal” Law Enforcement spouse. I haven’t spent years with my husband being on patrol or morning watch. I haven’t been with him while he worked the Metro Narcotics Task Force. And I haven’t come home to black eyes and broken bones on a husband who had just worked a shift at the jail.
However, in our time together, I have waited hours without knowing if my husband was actually ok. I have waited through man-hunts and hostage situations. I have learned after the fact that my husband wasn’t responding to a text because he was breaking up courtroom brawls. I have watched him carry extra ammo on his belt because there are extra tensions and hatred towards Law Enforcement Professionals on any given day. And I have sat with him at our kitchen table and worked our way through our budget for the year, month, and sometimes, week.
It is for these latter reasons that I am proud to be the wife of an LEO. And I am ashamed of those who don’t understand, refuse to try to understand, and worse still, pretend that they know what it is like to wait for the door to open, breathing that sigh of relief that he simply made it home.
With budgets shrinking and the cost of living growing, it is shameful that when we look at what has to go, we even consider putting Public Safety on that list. At the heart of every successful community, the safety of it’s citizens is always at the top. Why? Because when you feel safe, when you feel that your children are safe, you are more likely to stay. You are more likely to brag on your community. You are more apt to respect, support and trust those who claim to have your best interest at heart.
As a wife who knows the struggles, not only emotionally, but financially of being with someone who’s calling is protecting his community, I am infuriated by those who condescendingly reproach those who do not agree with their “management style” and I am disgusted by those who have never walked in my shoes or those of my husband and yet claim to know better than we do about our salaries, raises and healthcare, or lack thereof.
No, I don’t have a business degree or a law degree. But my husband and I are well equipped, both mentally and educationally, to know what is best for our family, and how our government should work and how it actually works.
Being told by those elected to lead our community that we are too emotionally invested and that we don’t understand how government, both past and present, work is insulting, not only to our intellect, but to our families as a whole. Being asked if we really know what we are talking about as if they know the inner-workings of our household budget and have spent long hours in quiet anxiety waiting for their loved ones to walk through the door or simply send a text message, is degrading and shows a sheer lack of genuine compassion and respect.
It’s not just our spouses who choose to serve our community, it is our families as well. Whether it’s the LEO picking up extra jobs or the spouse, we are in it together when it comes to providing for our family’s needs, with or without the help of those who stood in front of a microphone and promised to stand with us. And whether it’s the LEO on the street working to prevent and solve crime or the LEO spouse waiting at home, both are committed to a life of protecting their neighbors whether it’s wearing the badge or supporting the one wearing badge.
It’s time that Law Enforcement Officers, their families, and those who are simply aware that they sleep peacefully in their beds at night while brave men and women keep watch, choose leaders who are committed to supporting our Law Enforcement agencies and those who serve in them. Whether they are running for City Council or Mayor, support those who support you. Those who are committed to Public Safety. Those who realize that until our community is safe, we will never be able to keep our young professionals, our parents with children, and attract the economic development opportunities that our community is so deserving of.